Article Text

Original research
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiology services
  1. Omar Fersia1,
  2. Sue Bryant1,
  3. Rachael Nicholson1,
  4. Karen McMeeken1,
  5. Carolyn Brown1,
  6. Brenda Donaldson1,
  7. Aaron Jardine1,
  8. Valerie Grierson2,
  9. Vanessa Whalen2 and
  10. Alistair Mackay1
  1. 1Cardiology Department, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, UK
  2. 2Clinical Imaging Department, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Omar Fersia; ofersia{at}


Objective The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in prioritisation of National Health Service (NHS) resources to cope with the surge in infected patients. However, there have been no studies in the UK looking at the effect of the COVID-19 work pattern on the provision of cardiology services. We aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic on cardiology services and clinical activity.

Methods We analysed key performance indicators in cardiology services in a single centre in the UK in the periods prior to and during lockdown to assess reduction or changes in service provision.

Results There has been a greater than 50% drop in the number of patients presenting to cardiology and those diagnosed with myocardial infarction. All areas of cardiology service provision sustained significant reductions, which included outpatient clinics, investigations, procedures and cardiology community services such as heart failure and cardiac rehabilitation.

Conclusions As ischaemic heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death nationally and globally, cardiology services need to prepare for a significant increase in workload in the recovery phase and develop new pathways to urgently help those adversely affected by the changes in service provision.

  • coronary artery disease
  • heart failure
  • delivery of care
  • cardiac rehabilitation

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors The study was conceived and designed by OF, SB, RN, KM, CB and AM. Data collection was carried out by RN, CB, BD, VG and VW. Data analysis was carried out by OF, SB and AJ. The initial manuscript was compiled by OF, SB, RN, KM and CB. AM contributed substantially to critical revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval NHS Dumfries and Galloway Clinical Audit Approval Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. No additional data are available.

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